Et renovabis faciem terrae. The oratories of the congregations of San Quirico di Valleriana. A vehicle for the town’s rebirth
Architectural drawing and design
Aesthetics of cities. City planning and beautifying
Full recordShow full item record
AbstractSan Quirico di Valleriana is a walled settlement of ancient Lucchesia (the territory surrounding Lucca, Italy) dating to the early Middle Ages, set in the valleys behind Pescia at about 540 metres above sea level. The residents have gradually deserted this settlement after the end of the Second World War, as well as many other “minor” settlements on the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines, to find better job opportunities and living standards elsewhere. Despite the progressive abandonment, San Quirico and the other nine Castella of the Valleriana valley form an unquestioned interesting system for reasons rooting in its culture, art and landscape. From this particular point of view, the mountainous territory around Pescia, the Pesciatina, indeed nurses the economic potential to attract “slow tourists”: those travellers who prefer visiting territories rich in history and traditions, both secular and religious, and that are still able to bring the consolidated image of medieval Tuscany back to life. Prior to the early decades of the XIX century, in this eastern outpost of the Diocese of Lucca, time was marked by the rules and customs instilled by the religious influence, which have survived thanks to the uninterrupted work of numerous congregations. The most important of them had their own oratory, near the ancient parish church, distinguishing the area where the main public events, from the rest of the urban network. Via a historical, typological and architectural assessment of the castle’s oratories and congregations, the relations between religious architecture and the settlement’s community were analysed with the explicit intention to understand what can trigger the complex process of requalification and enhancement for the village’s future. Analysis and project involved San Quirico as a whole but special care was paid to the oratories, which could once again accomplish some key functions in the dynamics of the castle; mostly because of their peculiar characteristics and for the role they have already played during the centuries in the community’s life. Memory, Measure and Material are the three incipits that have guided the entire project: the analysis of the material and immaterial history of the village has led to understand the logic behind the construction of the main religious buildings, which can renew their exterior façade without having to hide their origins, thanks to a sensible use of materials, and therefore playing an active role in every-day life. The design proposal focuses on the introduction of spaces to properly welcome visitors or to host cultural happenings; a new cultural centre that can become a reference point for the residents of the nearby villages as well as for the tourists visiting the valley.